For this month’s Wood News Online we received the following Ask the Staff question from Tom Rose:
Why are wood bench plans that I have seen not over 5 feet long??
Read our answer in the comments below and feel free to leave your own answer in the comments section!
Essentially this is the gist of the review "They are outstanding. Beyond outstanding, really." He rounds things out by saying "When your beading planes arrive, you’ll want to put a bead on everything. Even your dog."
Click here to read the entire post.
|From left to right; Clark & Willaims 3/16", Caleb James 1/4" and 1/8" beading planes|
I get asked which saw a beginning woodworker or even someone wanting to use more hand tools should buy first. There are a lot of things that make this answer “it depends” but I feel pretty strongly that it should be a carcass saw. This video is a detailed look at why it should be the first saw you buy and depending on how much hand tool work you do, maybe the last saw you buy.
PS: sorry I forgot to correct for the fisheye effect in a few of the wide angle shots, I think it looks kinda cool, but I’m sure someone out there won’t like it.
Saws Used in the Episode
The list include wonderful new old stock that we never got around to selling normally, and dented crap that someone might want for reasons we don't get.
So that's why there has been that poster up on our webpage for the past week. Sunday night, around 10:00 PM Brooklyn time, it all goes live and it's open season. Why Sunday at 10:00 not midnight? We are a small company and the poor sap who has to release everything and not screw it up is me, and if I wait until midnight I will probably pass out first.
BTW we also have no idea if the web site can take the volume of traffic, and actually everyone in on-line retailing is wondering if the entire Internet can take the volume of traffic. We will see.
Also - and this is important - for the first time we are allowing people to reserve items in their baskets. Once you add a sale item into your basket you will have 30 minutes to close the sale, Theoretically more time if nobody else wants it but by 30 minutes we mean 30 minutes. After that, if your order isn't COMPLETED, anyone can put the item into their shopping cart and it will vanish from your cart. So my suggestion is, set up your cart over the weekend with anything else you might want to order (and save on shipping) - such as some gramercy tools, or the new Festool stuff that is shipping on Dec 1 or some brand new ready for winter Blaklader work clothing, and then after 10:00 put the stuff you want in your basket and check out.
Good luck, have fun!
The past couple of days are indelibly impressed in my inner being having watched John work on his toolbox to create something so uniquely him. There’s a saying we hear often, “You have to see it to believe,” but I might favour a slight shift and say, “It’s got to be seen to believe it.” His hands move so quickly now, deftly, responsively sensing the wood beneath the tool’s edge. He twists in minute degrees of realignment and the wood responds submissively to the pressures he flexes and suddenly a joint fits as he presses the two parts together. The hammer drives them deep until all the air between them is gone and so too the glue that presses out along the joining lines. I feel the weight of responsibility as I toss advise from my bench and then I step in close to tell him something no one else knows when they drive a wide array of dovetails together. I speak quietly of the method he knows nothing of. I tell him the two corners cannot unite with the tight tolerances he has perfected each tail and pin with, but there is a method, only one, we use that few will know anything of. We use it and the joints settle to perfection. I share this secret in the next video series on making a traditional joiner’s toolbox. It eliminates the inevitable glue freeze and corner fracture normally associated with so many dovetails in one lineup. All the way through John’s being here I have shared everything I know with him and I have watched him drive himself all the deeper into his working knowledge. I don’t believe this ends with wood or woodworking tools and his skills. He’s developed the deep and ever-deepening insights into a world craft and the art of craftwork alone holds. I remember the day I too crossed the threshold of knowledge that somehow defies the academic and the analysis — the day I know I consciously and subconsciously possessed my craft and knew that no one and nothing could take away what I then understood. Being absorbed into the art of work, discovering the art in your craft being applied to all areas of your worklife, means there are no separations to piecemeal your creativity by the starts and stops of commerce. The machines and machinery of industrialism’s buzzers and whistle warnings, unions, employers, fellow employees and things that often subvert creation itself are all left behind. Discovering these things and living in them is a rare and marvellous way.
As the dovetails formed through many days, with spaces between bouts, a rhythm developed. It’s the rhythm of an uninterrupted confidence craftsmanship alone seems destined always to hold. A rhythmic pulse beats its steady beat in pace with each stroke the saw cuts and severs and I see dovetails forming in the reflection of his eyes. The chequered contrast between the tan of oak and the brown mahogany spaced intermittently reminds me of how thankful I am for wood and woodlands and the forests that so richly reward us but, and all the more, watching as an emerging craftsman becomes ever creative with his own hands for me is icing on the cake.
Through the years, I have fielded quite a few questions about shooting boards, and so I thought it might be nice to share some of the considerations with you, for your own thinking process.
Make or Buy?
That is a biggie, and it’s multifaceted. If you can make a shooting board accurately enough to suit what you need it to do, you may not be considering buying, but there are hurdles to leap.
Ask a few questions:
What is your time worth? You have a busy life, a full time job, a family that deserves quality time. When you get shop time, do you want to spend it making tools, or projects like furniture, jewelry boxes or cabinets? Time for most of us is in short supply. If you want your time spent making beautiful things for your family, then tools that can do what you need done, and directly are really nice to have.
Skills and tools- It seems simple enough, but that depends on a lot of things, and when you dig into it, the shooting board is not as simple as it looks. We all have saws and planes, but do we want a quick jig that will be accurate enough for the duration of a project, or do we want a tool with major capabilities and high accuracy, built to last for years with proper care? There are different ways of looking at it. Most of us don’t make our own planes, saws or shop machines, so if you’d rather buy than make, there is no harm or foul in buying, after all, it’s your shop and your choice.
It’s just wood, after all… Or is it just wood? We select Baltic Birch for it’s uniformity and stability, and then we accurize it a lot from there. Our observations over years have shown it to remain very accurate seasonally. Why not use metal? Lots of really good reasons. Metal isn’t automatically better than wood for these tools. They are unnecessarily heavy, much more difficult to mill, drill and accurize to the required degree, adding costs. Metal to metal can be destructively hard on handplanes as well as leave unwanted marks on wood. Even UHMW doesn’t slide like waxed wood. Like planing in the usual way, a waxed plane sole on a waxed shooting board chute is a smooth easy and accurate ride.
A shooting board that is made to last years and work in a number of different angles is a bigger project than it appears. There are aspects of such a tool that are important in the making, and there are other aspects that seem cool on their face, but actually breed inaccuracy. Multi-position fences that can be set accurately to less than a degree of accuracy take some care in making. Straightness over the the length of chutes and fences, in the 0.001-2 inch range from 12- 30 inches long takes great care to achieve.
Straightness, coplanarity and calibratable angular accuracy are very important qualities to the shooting board as a tool. They can give a simple block plane the accuracy of a surface grinder. They may not look as beautiful as a tool unto themselves, but the beauty is built into what they help make. Stable materials and accurate surfaces become the beauty in your work. In a rectilinear tool, it seems deceivingly simple at a glance, but using the wrong material can make all this accuracy difficult to achieve and maintain.
Making a shooting board is careful work. It takes mindfulness and layout skill, finely tuned tools, accurate machines and a developed discerning eye to make. It can be harder to make if you don’t use power tools at all. One of my clients once said, If I had a good shooting board, I would then have a tool that could help me make a good shooting board. That has a lot of truth to it.
This is about your present and future creativity. How capable would you like the shooting board to be? One or two angles, many angles? It’s not about having a built in protractor, it is about being able to be accurately set the shooting board with a tool as nice as a Starrett Protractor or a high quality square so the quality of the setting can be assured. Then it’s about retaining that accuracy while the business is done. Calibratable settings? Yes! How can you compensate for wood movement so accuracy issues don’t keep you from making whatever, whenever in the future? We have to be able to calibrate accuracy before use.
What are shooting boards commonly used for? There are plenty of good instances. Squaring boards that will have dovetails laid out and cut on them. It helps accurize and show the layout, and that is what squares the box when you assemble it. Un-squareness in the layout will amount to an un-square, possibly unusable box. Care before the cut is what makes for fine work. Want layout lines you can see in endgrain, so you can saw perfectly? Shoot the endgrain first.
Small, short and thin stocks are safer to do on a shooting board, and that goes for both long and end grain. Machines love to eat workpieces this small, while exposing your fingers to dangerous cutters. Our shooting boards offer a planing stop accessory, so you can thickness material too. It is a great tool for small box work, or anything with smallish parts. Much safer than a machine and it makes small box making a dream.
We offer accessory fences that make it possible to shoot material that extend all the way to the width of a 2 inch plane iron on the board, about 1-3/4 width, so the shooting board’s domain into thick work is easily expanded if desired.
Mitering moldings is a big reason for accurate shooting. Hollows and rounds molding planes are very popular; considering a half set of hollows and rounds can set you back more than the $3,500+ range, why not shoot your molding work with an accurate tool? Moldings make for twice the work in a shooting board. You’ll need twin chutes, multiple fences and sometimes multiple fence angles because molding shooting requires the molding to be accurized to fit in it’s installed position, and the shooting board has to be able to emulate that.
Store bought and machine made moldings are also widely made and used in shop, and all types of moldings benefit from shooting board accuracy and finish quality. If this is work you’ll have in your future, then you’ll want to have a shooting board that is up to the task, whether you make or buy. We offer a couple of different shooting board models specifically made for addressing custom molding work and miters in different directions.
Joining veneer is an important job for the shooting board. This is important in furniture making, box making, lutherie… From long book matching, planing specific angles for sunbursts or compass points, inlay work, even making parquetry is important work for the shooting board. Many different angles apply and can be accurized with boards that are set up to address this work.
Layout for joinery can be helped by shooting the surfaces that will bear the layout tools, as well as the layout marks prior to cutting. I have also used the shooting board to true leather.
Sanding shooting tools are available for shooting boards, and I have used them to true plywoods, plastics and other materials that aren’t easily planed.
Other nice things a shooting board can do here is accurize length and squareness as well as remove saw marks and tear out from the cutting process, dressing things up with a hand plane to a surface smoothness that is similar to 5-600 grit sandpaper right off the plane. The shooting board can be a very well rounded makers tool.
If odd angles are desired or if you have work that has to match angles that are not standard, we also offer an accessory fence for shooting almost any angle between 0-90 degrees. Shoot any angle you want or need as accurately (or inaccurately) as you require.
To be certain, the shooting board can be used very flexibly, to accurize most anything you want. It is perfectly fine to think outside the box with it.
It’s Your Shop. It’s also your time. What you do with it should be what you want to do with it. I can tell you, that after making hundreds and hundreds of shooting boards full time for years now, it still isn’t anything less than careful work. I work to 0.001 inch tolerances daily, but I know that isn’t for everyone. I personally use a lot of specialized tools in my shop to help me be accurate and productive, but they are often tools a lot of woodworkers may not wish to have, unless they are also machinists.
In my shop, I approach the making of a shooting board like I would an infill plane. It takes time and care to make, fitments must be precise, and are made to last years with proper care. It’s all precision from the get go, and that’s what you’ll get when you buy one of ours. My eye is to your future craftsmanship, so I want the accuracy and capabilities to be there so you can go wherever you like with your creativity. Caring about your craftsmanship is what our tools are about, so I take steps beyond what you might for yourself to assure our tools will give you all of your craftsmanship at it’s best.
So make or buy? I can’t really tell you what you should do. It’s up to you, because it’s your shop. For our part should you choose to buy, our tools offer a lot of variety, capability and accuracy for use with your craftsmanship. A shooting board can help you fight above your weight when performing quality work, and enable you to do more when you have less than a full kit of tools. There is no disgrace in owning a custom made precision tool that can enable you to make creatively and accurately in many, many ways. If you prefer to make furniture rather than tools, we have a selection of helpful Shooting Boards and Woodworking Tools to help you do exactly that.
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© Copyright 2014 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.
From pocket knives to kitchen knives and just about any knife you care to name, a simple method to use is a piece of 3/4” piece of wood on the benchtop and an EZE-Lap diamond paddle.
By placing the knife on the piece of wood with the edge just overhanging the edge and placing the face of the diamond paddle on the knife edge you will near enough replicate the angle of the original primary bevel of the knife. For longer knives I add a strip of thin wood behind the knife using superglue to attach it. Then I butt the knife up against it to prevent it slipping as the knife has more leverage. Adding shelf liner helps with slippage too.Rubbing back and forth along the edge or using circular motions the bevel is established. If you want a steeper bevel to add a secondary bevel to match the original Stanley secondary bevel, add a 5/16” shim and then use the same medium hone a superfine hone as shown. Do the same to the opposite side and your knife is ready to use. For a fully honed edge strop on the leather using buffing compound.
These drawings should help understand.
I started the box by making the top and bottom frame and panel, mainly because this was new territory and I wanted to keep my options open. I figured that I could fit the rest of the box to the frame and panels if they ended up being slightly off in size.
I completely blew the first mortise by chopping right through the frame with my chisel. This was caused by a combination of laying out too deep a mortise and hitting the chisel too hard while chopping. Luckily I had some extra wood, So I redrew the mortises slightly less deep and hit the chisel with more care, especially when reaching the bottom of the mortise.
After making the frames, I measured and cut the panels to size. I bevelled the outside and rebated the inside of the panels.
I was quite pleased with the end result. The frames were square and the panels fit!
First off, I want to thank Whitney Van Dyke and the rest of the folks from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. for inviting me, and Glen, to the press preview of the Nathaniel Gould exhibit. It was a blast being the only woodworkers at this early morning preview nearly two weeks ago (November 13). We got to meet and speak with Dean Lahikainen, the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Art at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), as well as Kemble Widmer and Joyce King who were the researchers who revealed Nathaniel Gould’s undiscovered prolific nature as a cabinetmaker and business man (you’ll get to meet all of them later in the post).
It was the folks at C.L. Prickett in Yardley, PA who sparked this whole investigation. They came to possess the Bombé desk and bookcase pictured at the head of this post. They knew it wasn’t a Boston piece because of the differences in construction and decoration. With no signature there was no way to determine who made the secretary – or was there? Enter historical mystery buster Kemble Widmer who has been studying Salem furniture for years.
Widmer’s first thought was Nathaniel Gould. Why? He was, after all, a rather insignificant cabinetmaker from Salem, MA, who, until recently, only had a handful of pieces attributed to his shop. The key term there is “until recently”. In 2006, Kemble Widmer and Joyce King came across an 18th century treasure trove that would change the perception of Nathaniel Gould forever.
Widmer made the leap to Gould based on the blockfront desk and bookcase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The desk and bookcase contain the inscription “Nathaniel Gould not his work”, but there’s a bit of a mystery there as well. The signature is in one hand, while the “not his work” is clearly in another. Was this the work of a disgruntled journeyman or apprentice or was it something completely different? For a cabinetmaker of so little renown, how could he have made such a masterpiece? Surely, if this was the quality of work coming from his shop, there would be other pieces of similar quality. How is it possible so few Gould pieces exist?
When looking at the Bombé secretary, the quality of workmanship and materials are stellar (along the same lines as that of the blockfront at the MET). Widmer assembled his team and began looking for clues.
Some time later Joyce King, a key member of the team, came across a reference to a Nathaniel Gould’s account books in the Massachusetts Historical Society. Not knowing if the account books were related to the Nathaniel Gould that was a cabinetmaker in Salem, she and Widmer “trucked into Boston” (as she puts it) to see what they might find.
Amazingly, the three account books were not only the records of the exact Nathaniel Gould they were seeking, but they illustrated a rich and lavish career spanning 20 years and some 3000 pieces of furniture. Gould was not so insignificant after all. He was, in fact, the largest importer of mahogany in the colony (which explains why his pieces display such magnificent figure). He had a modest shop of three or four journeymen and a couple of apprentices, but he commissioned work for his customers from other shops as far away as Boston.
There’s so much more to this mystery than I can cover in a single blog post. So, beginning next week, I will restart my “Furniture Details” blog posts with some more in-depth exploration of Nathaniel Gould and his furniture. The great thing about talking with people like Kemble Widmer, Joyce King and Dean Lahikainen is you get a chance to see details they’ve discovered from their focused research that you might not otherwise learn on your own. Each of the three gave tremendous insights into Gould and his work. They also presented several as yet unsolved mysteries, which I am sure will not remain so forever. It’s just a matter of time. There’s lots more to come, but for now, check out the video below to hear part of the tale in the words of Kemble Widmer and Joyce King.
The exhibit, “In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould”, shows off 20 pieces of Gould’s furniture. There is a richly illustrated catalog available to go with the exhibit (you can buy it here). The exhibit opened on November 15, 2014 and runs through March 29, 2015 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The pieces are varied in nature; everything from chairs to desks to tables and secretaries. All of it is worth the trip to Salem even if you couldn’t wander the rest of the museum (but do because it’s filled with amazing stuff…some of which you’ll see in mid-December..hint, hint).
Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist, not a professional, someone who loves woodworking, just like you do. I have found some better ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop and look forward to sharing those with you each month, as well as hearing your problem-solving ideas.
Building a small room (or even a compartment) for your dust-collection cyclone outside your shop provides several advantages.
First, all that noise is now outside instead of in your shop. And, that’s a big advantage, because even the quietest cyclone is pretty darn loud. I used my handy-dandy iPhone sound pressure level meter outside the closet, and it read 84 db. It can reasonably be assumed that it would have a similar noise output if inside the shop, except that if it were indoors it would probably not be enclosed and the sound would be even louder.
Second, you’ve gained a little more room in your shop. Who can’t use more room? You may wish to size your new room to include your air compressor, too, as Steven Johnson, the Down-To-Earth-Woodworker did.
Third, you may no longer need a filter on the air discharge, eliminating filter cleaning (one more unpleasant job). I just have to be careful that I don’t walk through that discharge area without a dust mask during and shortly after using the cyclone. For me it’s not a problem because it’s not an area I need to be in very often when I’m working. Whatever dust is in the discharge is the finest of the fine, because I never see anything in the air or even settling on that part of the deck. Of course, that really fine dust is also the most dangerous, the dust that can go deepest into your respiratory tree. One limiting factor is that you have to make a hole in the wall, and that hole has to line up perfectly so that your mounting bracket is in exactly the right place.
You must provide “makeup air” to prevent pulling carbon monoxide and other products of combustion out of the flue and back into your shop.
Funny story: As it says in the footer, we live in the absolute boondocks. We have more wild animals in our back yard than a zoo. It’s nothing to see snakes on the deck, or even on the second floor. (I want to see one of them climbing the stairs one day.)
One night I had run the dust collector, finished and locked up for the night. The next morning I went down the stairs to leave for work and there was a big pile of smelly poop on a rug. Clearly it wasn’t dog or cat poop because it was full of persimmon seeds. I hurriedly cleaned it up and didn’t give it much more thought, despite the fact that the entire garage was locked up tight. Several days later, on the weekend, I was going around the north wall opening blinds, shutters and windows, when I found even more seed-filled poop. Then more. I decided I needed to look for a source. Now, it’s important to know something about me: I get spooked pretty easily. And, when I get startled, I can scream just like a girl. I armed myself with an old broom handle and began my search. Under the cars, under the boat, under the workbench where my infrequently-used jigs are stored. Nothing. “OK, then,” I thought, “let’s go to the real hiding places, my wife’s clay and pottery-working area.” Still nothing. Talking to myself again, “Maybe a coon got in and got out and just left me some ‘prizes’ while he was here.” I resigned myself to never solving the mystery and went back to work. Cutting a heavy piece of metal with a saber saw, I had Bose noise-canceling headphones on and was playing music pretty loud, when I felt something against my foot. Not thinking of my intruder, I wiggled my foot and continued cutting. I felt something hit my boot again and looked down.
:Insert girl-scream here:
It’s a good thing my wife wasn’t home or she would have thought I’d run the radial arm saw over my wrist. I looked down to see the cutest little baby possum you ever saw! Sure, I didn’t think he was so cute at first, but when my heart rate dropped back below 200 I was able to admire him objectively, I decided he was adorable. Still, he’d be even more adorable if he was back in the swamp where he belonged. Grabbing an empty 5-gallon bucket I scooped him up (did I mention the poop piles really stank?), carried him well away from the house and let him re-join nature. I don’t believe he wants to face the six-foot-tall screaming “monster” again.
Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.
The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – December Tip #1 – Building a Separate Room for Dust Collection appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Ken Hatch, with an unsolicited opinion:
I have Japanese chisels in both #1 and #2 White Steel, either takes an incredible edge straight off the stone and the edge will last. I also have a set of the newer Stanley SW 750’s with Chrome Steel, they take a good edge but straight off the stone the edge fractures at the first touch of wood and the chisel dulls very quickly.
I like to think after watching my video on making a custom razor, in honor of the end of Movember, you’re all so inspired to make one that you can’t imagine there being another option. But in fact, there’s always options, and I’m a huge fan of OPTIONS!
So here’s another version for you, this time with a safety razor head versus the cartridge style (at least that’s what I call it) like the one I built. In fact, this style of razor head looks very cool and I just may need to make one, because I can, and I have plenty of scraps and cutoffs to play with.
Huge thanks to Brandon over at the Weekend Wood Dust YouTube channel for sharing!
I've just posted the latest video showing my wonderful Sauer and Steiner planes in action.